This morning David Pemsel, CEO of Guardian Media Group and Hadas Gold, CNN Media Business reporter held a conversation, The Business of News: A Critical Look at the Present and Future of Media at the Impact Makers Stage of Advertising Week Europe, focused on the current media landscape and an exploration of what the future holds.
Even an outlet as big as The Guardian is concerned and works to engage with their subscribers, on a industry where the role of media companies is challenged David Pemsel made it clear: great journalism is a priority along with making The Guardian global, trying to reach more readers. Their goal is building a deeper relationship with their current and potential subscribers creating high quality content aimed to impact and influence their context. Young players have taken part of the game. Pemsel recalled that when Vice and Buzzfeed came out some saw the answer on them, the “nirvana of media”, they could handle data and millenials. Time gave old players the last word.
On economic stability, Pemsel displayed a great confidence stating “they’re out of danger” thanks to their subscription and business model. Gold came to the heart of the conversation at questioning the approaches they take at building strong relationships with their readers. He talked about the introduction of 25 minute podcasts as a way to get their audience to reflect on the important outtakes of news instead of different updates on the same story. An interesting point on reader journey which at least for now won’t be charged at any cost. Added to this he mentioned the use of data infrastructure, digital storytelling and video production.
About the relationship with Facebook, he described it as “it’s complicated” giving the fact that they don’t necessarily follow the same goals and therefore is hard to match. And highlighted the power they hold in their hands with news handling and their impact, particularly when it comes to streaming and footage, on this topic he pointed out the recent events in New Zealand where Guardian Media Group decided to refrain from sharing any sensitive content.
At this day no one has found the answer, not even tech giants such as Apple and Google, but no matter how much the world changes the priority remains the same: top journalists and their hunt for stories. He called for collaboration rather than competition against tech companies “competing is expensive, consolidation is cheaper”. When Gold asked for a top contender, Pemsel mentioned BBC and applauded their funding model and reach.
To close, he emphasised on their main goal: having the largest newsroom they can afford and was happy to say that based on their no debt status and funds they’re able to invest on great journalism. Still, there are many challenges ahead in order to deliver the best for the reader and to be self aware to adapt to the fast moving world.
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